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Can I Claim My Emotional Support Dog On My Taxes? Is it Deductible?
When it comes to taxes, there are various deductions and credits available to help individuals reduce their tax burden. One such provision allows individuals with a qualified disability to claim certain expenses related to their emotional support dog.
Emotional support animals (ESAs) can provide valuable companionship and support to those struggling with mental health conditions. If you have one or multiple emotional support animals and want to explore the possibility of claiming related expenses on your taxes, it’s important to understand the specific guidelines and requirements set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Can I Claim My Emotional Support Dog On My Taxes?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), emotional support animals are not considered service animals and are thus not eligible for a tax deduction.
Currently, only animals specifically trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities are considered qualified medical expenses. These animals are referred to as service animals, and they must be trained to assist with tasks directly related to the individual’s disability.
In addition, animals that are used for businesses, such as a guard dog are also eligible for tax deductions. Fostering an animal can be listed as a charitable deduction too.
Pet Tax Deductions: What Is It?
Pet tax deductions refer to certain expenses related to pets that may be eligible for deductions on your income tax return. However, it’s important to note that the majority of pet-related expenses are not deductible as the IRS considers pets to be personal expenses and not eligible for tax deductions.
While you cannot deduct the general costs of owning a pet, there are a few exceptions and situations where pet-related expenses may be deductible, such as:
- Service animals: The costs associated with their care, including training, veterinary care, and food, may be deductible as pet medical expenses.
- Guard dogs and/or business animals: Expenses related to guard dogs used for business purposes, such as protecting business property.
- Foster animals: If you foster animals through a qualifying charitable organization, you may be eligible to deduct certain expenses associated with their care, such as food and veterinary costs.
Emotional Support Animal Tax Deduction
In the past, there was some confusion regarding the deductibility of emotional support animals. Even though they provide a service to owners by helping them through their mental and emotional conditions, the IRS has clarified that only service animals qualify for a pet tax deduction such as medical expenses.
Animals such as guide dogs for hearing or vision impairments, and even those that are certified to assist individuals with seizure disorders and other conditions are eligible for tax benefits.
In addition, animals that are part of a business, such as a guard dog, a cat that chases mice in a business, or even an animal that is used in show business, can be used as a tax write-off.
Furthermore, any animal that you may be fostering before they become adopted can also be written as a charitable tax deduction.
Some may argue that ESAs do perform a task of comfort and should be eligible for tax benefits, but since ESAs are not considered service animals under the ADA, they are not eligible for tax deductions. Even if the person has obtained an ESA letter for their animal.
Claiming Your Pet On Your Tax Return: How To Do It?
Although you cannot claim your own pet on a tax return, as regular pet expenses do not qualify for deductions, there are ways to legally gain the tax benefits of owning an animal.
If you have a service animal specifically trained to assist with a disability, you may be able to deduct certain expenses related to their care as medical expenses. These expenses can include the costs of training, veterinary care, and food.
Guard Dogs And Business Animals
If you have a guard dog that is used solely for the protection of your business property, you may be able to deduct expenses related to their care as a business expense. In addition, if your animal has paid or unpaid jobs, they are also eligible for tax deductions.
If you foster animals through a qualifying charitable organization, you may be able to deduct certain expenses associated with their care. This could include costs for food, veterinary care, and supplies.
What Are Examples Of Pets Used For Tax Benefits?
Normal pets and ESAs are not eligible for pet tax write-offs, but there are several situations, in which animals can be used for tax benefits.
- An individual in a wheelchair that used a dog to grab items for them.
- An individual who has PTSD and the dog alert them of an oncoming panic attack.
- An individual that has epilepsy and may train the dog to detect the onset of an upcoming seizure.
- Owning a farm and using dogs to protect livestock from prey.
- Owning a car repair store and using guard dogs to keep thieves away.
- Using a dog or a cat for commercials and TV shows.
- Riding a horse for income purposes.
- Fostering a pet before it becomes adopted.
Standard Deduction Vs. Itemized Deduction: Things To Know
When it comes to claiming expenses related to pets on your taxes, it’s important to understand how the standard and itemized deductions work. However, it’s essential to note that in most cases, pet-related expenses are not eligible for deductions. Pets, including emotional support animals, are generally considered personal expenses and are not typically deductible on your tax return.
Standard deduction is a fixed amount that reduces your taxable income. However, it does not include specific provisions for deducting pet-related expenses.
You can reduce taxable income by adding up the total cost for itemized deductions such as vet costs, pet food supplies, pet insurance, and more for those animals that are eligible for tax deduction, such as service, business animals, and foster animals.
Claiming an ESA on your taxes is not supported by the IRS. While ESAs provide important emotional support to individuals, they do not qualify for tax deductions like business or service animals do.
Pet-related expenses are generally considered personal expenses and are not eligible for deductions unless they fall under specific circumstances, such as service animals or guard dogs used for business purposes, or expenses related to fostering animals through a qualifying charitable organization.
It’s essential to stay updated on the current tax laws and consult with a tax professional or accountant for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding any potential deductions related to your ESA, as tax laws do change frequently.
Also consider finding the best legitimate ESA sites to gain a letter, such as Certapet. Always ensure compliance with IRS regulations and seek professional guidance to navigate your tax responsibilities effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, no. Pet expenses are considered personal and are not deductible. However, there are exceptions for service animals and certain business-related expenses.
Compare your eligible expenses to the standard deduction. If your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction, itemizing may be beneficial.
Yes, donations made to qualifying animal shelters and organizations are typically tax-deductible. Keep records of donations for tax purposes.
You first must meet with a licensed mental health professional who will then assess if you need an ESA for your condition.
It is required for you to meet with a licensed mental health professional who will then write an ESA letter for you to use. However, there are legitimate ESA sites that can link you with a mental health professional either online or in your area.
Yes! Fostering pets while they wait to be adopted can be a tax write-off under charitable deductions.
Emotional support dogs provide comfort to the individual but are not trained to perform any certains tasks that are related to a disability. Service dogs go through training and are certified for the task they perform.
+ 4 sources
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- ADA.gov. (2023). Service Animals. [online] Available at: https://www.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/.
- FACT SHEET FS 2015: Service Animals for Taxpayers with Disabilities. (2014). Available at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/Fact%20Sheet%20for%20FS%202015%20Service%20Animals%20for%20Taxpayers%20with%20Disabilities.pdf.
- Irs.gov. (2019). Topic No. 502, Medical and Dental Expenses | Internal Revenue Service. [online] Available at: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.
- ADA.gov. (2023). Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA. [online] Available at: https://www.ada.gov/resources/service-animals-faqs/.